Friday, May 31, 2013

K & her harness - Part 2

Once K's harness was on, it was full steam ahead This girl LOVES to go for a walk.  Her leash skills are super and you can see getting outside helps reduce her worry with us humans.
"How do I look?"
"I have big hears and my foster mom constantly tells me how pretty I am"
"Lets go!"

Good sniffin spot!
D'light checking out the flowers

And more sniffing! 
Here you can see K on her first walk.  Watch her tail a waggin, no worry about the leashes and she just having a good time!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

K & her harness - Part 1

Given D and Catty are not into playing with K, I decided to see about getting her harnessed up and out for walk.  I find that getting out for a walk is a huge stress reliever for dogs.  I started working on introducing the harness to K last Sunday.
This first video you can see my mistake of leaning in too quickly with no dogs around.  Watch K move - this is very typical of K, she gives clear signs when she's uncomfortable and if you move too quickly into her space.

Lucky for me K is forgiving and this was about 2 minutes later. Time enough for me to get Catty and D'light interested in helping me and K out with the harness.
K is interesting - you can see she does a stress yawn. Then she will also do this stretch which I think is a way she relieves the environmental pressure on her.  This was a big deal for her to engage this much with me.  She's a really brave little girl!  And many thanks to D'light and Catty for being so helpful.

This is about 15 seconds later... notice her softer movements, more play in her movements.  Funny girl bringing me the harness. She checks in with Catty and them moves much closer to me.

My husband was at work so, I had no one to video putting the harness on.  However, what I did was take it very slow and gently placed the harness over her head.  Making sure not to put my hands over her head, rather keep them to the sides of her head.  We took a couple seconds break to see if she was ok to move on with me clipping the harness.  She was looking ok so, I clipped the harness - giving her a high value treat (Ziwi Peak) after the harness was secure. 
When you are having to do something with or to a dog that is uncomfortable to them (putting on a harness, putting them in the crate, nail trim, vetting) the timing of the treat is important.  You want the treat always to come AFTER the uncomfortable event, not before.  If you treat before, they dog associates "Oh something bad is coming because I'm getting this treat".
Look who's a happy girl (besides Catty) AND  K makes her own choice to take a treat from my hand!

Catty says "I like you K, treats come when I'm around you..."

All harnessed up and ready to go - stay tuned tomorrow to see how the walk goes!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Guess who K adores?

Both D'light and Catty!  Now these two are not sure what to make of all this attention from sweet K but, it seems they both know she's a girl who needs some leeway.  Catty has been very patient with K and D'light is a bit nervous but, still giving her a try.  
We see a marked difference in K wanting to interact with us with D'light and Catty are around.  She's softer in her looks and body movements and the dogs seem to help her forget that she's worried about us humans. 
Knowing this K will do better in a home where she has another dog to play and watch for cues about interacting with people.
Below you can see K trying to get D'light to play with her.  K is more careful with Catty, notice K watching Catty to see if she wants to play.
K trying again with Catty...  this is great as Catty usually takes a good 2 weeks to warm up to new foster dogs.  This is after K being with us for 2 day!

K and Catty chewing on bully sticks. 
K is not a resource guarder.  I was stunned that Catty was ok with all of this as she's know to guard bones.  In a situation like this there is always 100% supervision just in case Catty has some issue!

K says "D'light, I just love you..."
K trying to snuggle with D'light

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Meal time for K

Upon K's arrival, here's how we started feeding her.  Us sitting on the ground, her baby gated in the kitchen and gently tossing her kibble one at a time.  This again is all about relationship building - this was her first meal with us, you can see she's worried - notice how her body looks tense.  Also me talking to her isn't soothing so, for now I try to stay quiet and no staring directly at her while she's eating.  Notice I say try to stay quiet... easier said than done!
One thing I've noticed, I tend to talk to the dogs in a higher pitch, louder voice that at times is more sing song. My husband is quieter in tone and not a sing song type of guy.  When he talks to her, she doesn't tense up and in fact she will move closer to him.  Huh, more info to take in and for me to adjust my ways with K helping her move forward.  Another good example that all dogs are different. You have to pay attention and keep an open mind for what does and doesn't work well for a particular dog.  We can have a framework but, we need to be flexible in adjusting it.

Monday, May 27, 2013

What a girl needs...

is space, time and the ability to make choices!  K is not ready to receive touch from us and, with that said, there some basic reasons we need to touch K.  An example is getting her leash on to go out and potty.  So for those experiences I start by having her baby gated in the kitchen which is a small space - I don't want her loose in a big space because I do not want to chase her.  First of I probably couldn't catch her and secondly having me come after her is not a way to build trust!  In the kitchen we are able to calmly and quietly move towards her and hook her leash.  She gets a high value treat after the leash is hooked.  This does stress her out - she freezes and looks away.  So once she's leashed, we leave her leashed to reduce the unpleasant experiences.  Once she trusts us more we will work on teaching her that it's fun to wear her leash but, we are not to that point yet.

When we do need to take K out potty and the leash is still on, we walk towards her  (not looking at her) and calmly sit down near the end of the leash, gently pick it up and gently stroke the leash towards us.  We then slowly and quietly  walk her to the door and out to go potty.  She does better when we are not looking directly at her. This is true for most under socialized dogs - the pressure of our stare on them is too much.  So if you see a dog that looks worried, soften your gaze/ look a way.  It makes a huge difference for the dog.
Again, we are leaving her leash attached to her collar through out the day.  We make sure to have her within eye sight so she doesn't get stuck should her leash get caught on a piece of furniture.  If we can't watch her, the leash is off and she's gated in our kitchen.  So, yesterday K was able to explore parts of our house which she was curious about.

She does much better about coming close to us if D'light is around.  Below you can see her leashed and that I gently toss treats her way.  She comes as close as she wants (her choice) and you will see a stress yawn as she's getting closer to me. 

This is a wonderful trust building game for a under socialized dog.  Notice the treat is tossed, she can decide if she wants it and if she wants it she can move away, taking off the pressure of getting close to me - again her choice.  Then deciding if she wants to come back. We did this game probably 3-4 times yesterday throughout our house.  Each sessions was very brief as you will see below.  Right now it would be asking too much of K trying to get her to take the treat from our hand so this game gives space and again gives her choice.

And while this may not look like a lot of work, it's a lot for K and really any under socialized dog.  Her brain is working and making choices.  Not to mention she's still adjusting to a new environment with new people and new dogs.  So, this is our work right now - the rest of the time she's able to relax and just hang out.

We are working at creating positive experiences with K and it takes one day at a time.  We are already seeing some trust occurring which is super.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

K's first day in foster care

K is typical of an under socialized dog - she's fearful of her surroundings and clearly doesn't trust people who haven't earned her trust.  Can't say I blame her a bit!  So yesterday she spent a good amount of the day baby gated in the kitchen with no pressure or expectation to interact with the humans.  This allowed her time to take in the noises and smells of our house.  It also gave her the choice to wander around the kitchen or hang out in her crate.  She's clearly stressed, again this isn't a surprise and we are not forcing her to do anything.  K can eat or drink if she'd like to and she has some bones and toys to play with or chew on.  When we come into the kitchen we drop a high value treat on the ground and do what we came in to do and then leave.  She has the choice to take the treat or not.  

K is very skittish and right now is not interested in out touch or attention from us and that's perfectly fine.  With a dog like K it's imperative that the human agenda not be pushed onto her.  We are excited to have her in foster care but, she doesn't know us or trust us so again, we have some relationship building to do.  This could happen fairly quickly or it will take time - that's for K to decide.
I can't imagine K in a shelter setting and it's not surprising she wasn't adopted.  Again I'm thankful to our volunteer in California who pulled K from the shelter, helped her get over her nasty upper respiratory infection and then got her up to Washington.  I have no doubt that K will warm us and she's a perfect candidate for foster care.  So stay tuned as we begin our journey with K! 

She's not real fond of the camera - this on full zoom

Saturday, May 25, 2013

New fosters in Washington

Very early this morning, the other northwest state coordinator and I met the transport to pick up the four new Washington rescued ratties.  All the pups overnighted at my house and they are all great little dogs.  This morning I'm off to meet and hand off 2 dogs to their foster parents. Then the fourth little rattie will be tranpsorted by a wonderful past adopter, over to Yakima to her new foster mom.

You all have read about K but wanted to let you know we have 3 other ratties that arrived lasts night.
 Nash is a sweet natured, playful little one year old tan and white Rat Terrier mix who was found as a stray and taken to a shelter. He's friendly and loves everyone he meets and we are sure he's going to love the house full of dogs that he will be living with in Snohomish, WA while in foster care. Watch him hanging out with his foster siblings on his foster family's blog
Sabrina is a 2 year old sweetie who was so happy to be sprung from the shelter. She's great with other dogs and we're told she's very friendly so we're sure she's going to find a forever home pretty quickly. Sabrina will be headed east to her foster home in Yakima, WA. To follow her adventures in the Yakima sun be sure to check out her foster mom's blog.
And last but not least is Dallas. This 4 month old puppy was a stray who has been recuperating from his time in the shelter at a temporary foster home. He's feeling much better now and has enjoyed playing with the dogs and people in his home. He'll be fostered in Marysville, WA and you can follow him on his foster family's blog.

Friday, May 24, 2013

More about new foster girl K

Meet K, she's a tiny little blue tuxedo coated rattie!  She's roughly 8 pounds and is about 10-12 months old. She was rescued from the Central California ASPCA shelter where she had come down with an upper respiratory infection and was struggling in the shelter setting. She's been in temporary foster care in California for a little bit because she was too sick to transport.  But, she doing well and we are very excited to meet K.
 You may be asking "What is up with the fancy picture?".  The shelter K came from is doing everything they can to market the dogs & that includes having a volunteer professional photographer do photo shoots with the shelter dogs. Even with this added feature dogs & puppies are still needing rescue: too many dogs, not enough adopters and not enough space. With that said we are happy to save the dogs we can save and that includes K! 
Are you wondering about her name? Our naming theme revolves around Washington wines so K is named for  K Vintners in Walla Walla, WA.  One of our favorite wineries!

K is currently on transport as you read this so, stay tuned to hear about this little rattie gal.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Two new beginning today!

Gramercy is heading to his new home today.  His moms are beyond excited to finally have him home with them.  Gramercy has such an amazing story and we are thrilled to have been a small part of his life.  So, happy new life Gramercy, it will be beyond your wildest dream in terms of love, care and adventure!

And with Gramercy being adopted, his mom's have saved two dog!  They adopted Gramercy who needed his own family and by adopting him, it opened up a foster spot for another dog in need.  So they have also helped  rescue sweet K who will take Gramercy's foster spot.
Later today, this beautiful girl will be catching the transport to Washington.  Stay tuned tomorrow to read more about her. You'll find out what's up with this amazing picture of her and her name.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Gramercy getting primped!

Gramercy hasn't had a bath since early March (prior to his surgery) and with him going home, I told him he needed smell as good as he looks!  Gramercy wasn't in total agreement with me....

Oh the dreaded bath - Gram does great but, this is not in his top 3 "fun things to do"

"Enough with the pictures, lets get this over with"
As you can see a bone can make everything better.  This is one of the first times where Gram won't look at the camera.  No doubt giving me the cold shoulder for giving him a bath!  But as with everything Gram related, he gets over it fast.

Run rattie run and some grunts thrown in! Gram in on the tail end of some activity restriction.  By June 12th he is off all restriction.

More fun and there's that pink elephant!  D needs to not stand in the middle of the running lane.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Gramercy looking good in the harness

Given we are currently foster free (our new girl is arriving later this week) I thought I'd share a bit more about Gramercy body progression.
In the 5 months Gram has been with us, he's lost a good amount of weight and we've worked through a variety of harnesses that fit him. If a dog is a puller/gets over excited on leash, I personally find that the wonder walker is better if you can get a good fit.  This allows you more flexibility during leash work and gives you the option of using a 2 point of contact leash.  When Gramercy first came to us, the wonder walker didn't fit well because of his full barrel shaped chest and the increased girth around his front legs.  So we had him wearing a puppia soft harness
We also didn't walk Gramercy much prior to his surgery because his body just couldn't last very long.  So, while he did loose weight before the surgery it was slow going.  
January 5th - I had to special order size medium long belly bands for his because he was so round.  I also had to really loosen up the soft harness strap to fit his barrel body.  Poor dude had no waist line!
Gramercy had his surgery on March 23rd and 2 weeks after his surgery, we were given the green light for short distance walking.
Since his surgery we were frequently tighten up his soft harness....
Gramercy April 10th

And then he was able to fit into a wonder walker, size small

Gramercy April 25th

And now, he's wearing a wonder walker, size toy!

Gramercy May 19th
Gramercy is going to be living out in a rural area so, the soft harness will likely be what he's walked in since he's pretty good on a leash. However should he start bouncing around and walking out of balance, his mom's now have to option of using a wonder walker and a 2 point of contact leash if any work is needed!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Before & now pictures of Gramercy

As everyone knows, Gramercy had spine surgery back on March 19th.  I thought his "fans" would be interested to compare pictures at the 2 month mark. And of course see how great he's doing.
March 20th
May 19th

March 20th with his funny hair cut!

May 19th and look how great his fur is looking - that's due to good food and the coconut oil!

Lookin good & feelin good!

Gramercy ready to start his new life - which beings on May 23rd!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Gramercy helping to pick out new toys

Syncline's adopters who are a wonderful couple, gave me a very nice thank you card and a gift certificate to All The Best!  So Gramercy and I headed out to purchase some new toys for future foster dogs.
Gramercy LOVES toys so he's the perfect guy for a toy tester.  Here's the two he picked out - funny that they are both pink! Gramercy could not wait to get home and really test them out.
I was trying to get a picture of the toys and clearly Gram was a bit impatient!

"Ok Gram, go test..."

"This one is amazing!"
Gramercy was pretty funny with this toy - it has an empty bottle inside it that makes noise. 

"Ok ready for the elephant..."


"This one is sooo soft and easy to love!"

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Syncline AND her pink bunny have been adopted!

 No big suprise that Syncline found a home so quickly and it's a pretty awesome home at that! Syncline is going to be living pretty close to us so, we may very well see her and her new parents out on walks.   We are really happy to have fostered this funny little gal and help her find a wonderful new home.  I'm looking foward to hearing about her adventures and I'm sure we will also see her at the rattie meetups.  Syncline and her parents have already signed up for doggie class at my favorite froce free dog academy - I know they will all have a wonderful time!  So happy life to you sweet, spunky gal - you are going to no doubt going to be loved and very well cared for.
Getting ready to head home to her new amazing parents!

Kisses to pink bunny

As you will see from the video below, of course we HAD to send pink bunny with Syncline!

Some other really good news... because Syncline's parents chose to adopt, they not only rescued her but they saved another rattie by opening a foster spot.    So HUGE thank you to them for giving a second chance to TWO dogs who are no longer throw away rattie's.
I spent time yesterday, working with our other volunteers to save a very sweet girl who clearly needed a second chance.  Her first chance for a happy life was pretty sucky.  So be on the look out for news of her arrival which will be around on June 6th.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Syncline and the feeders

As you can see Syncline is doing great after her spay!  I decided to have her try out some interactive feeders and overall she did pretty great considering these were her first tries.
Sycline eats similar to D'light - a delicate eater who isn't in a huge hurry.  Can't say that about Gramercy and Catty!  So we started of slow and turned her eating time into fun time. 
Whenever you are introducing your dog to a new item, make sure to go slow to see how they react.  If the seem worried or nervous, figure out how to lower expectation to create success. You wouldn't be expected to solve a rubix cube your first try!  Remember that games, interactive toys/feeders are meant to be fun and increase confidence.  You the human play a vital role in helping to shape your dog's experience.
Last night we tried out the tornado
The moving parts did cause some worry - thus her checking in with me. With some assurance, she wanted to keep trying.  Had she not gone back to the feeder, I would have picked it up, emptied the food, put the feeder back down on the ground and scattered the food around the feeder.  My thoughts behind this are that she would get to eat near the feeder, it wouldn't be moving and we would end with a positive experience. 

This morning we tried out the busy ball!
I was really impressed with Syncline quickness in figuring out the busy ball - smart girl!  She's such a baby doll who is really going to blossom with some time and life consistency

After all that work it was time for a rest and fun with the squeaky squirrel.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

More of Gramercy & Syncline

Here's Gramercy & Syncline the night before her spay surgery...

Gramercy asks "Are you asleep?"

Syncline says  "no way man!"
All the noises are coming from Gramercy.  He's very vocal when playing!

Syncline's first leash walk

These video's and pictures were from last Saturday and you will see that Syncline does pretty good on a leash.  Which is impressive given I doubt before foster care, that she'd ever worn a harness or even walked on leash.
My Catty is dog reactive so we always intro a new foster by going for a walk.  This helps to get the dogs (who are usually both anxious) moving and we work towards a side by side walk.  If I introduced a dog head to head with Catty it would not work as she's a fearful dog who reacts with her teeth.  And a face to face/head to head greeting is awful and can create instant chaos for a variety of reasons.  So this method is a nice intro for both dogs.  After so many fosters Catty seems to know the drill and there were no issue between her and Syncline. 
So, off we go.  I started Syncline with a regular leash hooked to the front of her harness.  As you can see she was pulling. 

I switched leashes with Catty, putting the 2 point of contact and Syncline and tada - no pulling at all.  Over the next couple of day I had Syncline walking on a 2 point leash and we did progress to a single point of contact leash.  I would recommend that if your dog is a puller or just doesn't seem balanced while walking go buy yourself a 2 point leash - it quickly makes a huge difference for the dog and you too!

It was hot on Saturday and Catty wanted to stop for breaks.... funny girl!

Cute little rattie girls
Syncline says "That was a ton of fun"
I will tell you that Syncline likes to walk, walk and walk!  She's the first foster we've had in a good while who can keep up with my Catty girl who is a walking fiend.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Boo Boo Loon

Yesterday Syncline headed to the vet for her spay surgery.  For the life of me I could not find my inflatable cloud by Kong so, I stopped off at a local pet store to see if I could get another one.  What I found was the Boo Boo Loon.  I'm a sucker for new dog stuff so of course I needed to get this & give it a try. 
I was getting the box open and Mr. busy body wanted to see what I was doing.  Gramercy always wants to be a part of what is going on.  I started to inflate the boo boo loon and Gram thought this thing was a new toy! 

Knowing that Gram rolls with pretty much everything I decided to have him test it out!  As you can see it's not bad at all. Although I think Gramercy was disappointed as he was expecting something fun.

"This isn't a toy!"
I would not recommend the Boo Boo Loon be used with a high energy dog or super active puppy.  Gramercy seemed more comfortable moving in this over the kong cloud and the cozy cone.  I think some of that was because you don't fully inflate the boo boo loon so it's not as restrictive.  I also would never leave a dog unattended wearing any inflatable e-collar.

I headed off to the vet to pick up Syncline and she was pretty groggy from the spay.  Here she is at home resting in her crate. 
The good news for Syncline is that she had no interest in messing with her incision.  So that means when we are home, no cone and no boo boo loon for her!
Not feeling so hot but, she did have a very cute little yellow bandage on right front paw.

Sweet girl resting.  She didn't make a peep all night.

Syncline ate her breakfast this morning and then just wanted to relax and rest on this nice soft bed. 



Such a sweet girl...

with a very pretty face!